Photo by Geoff Livingston
My goal for conference presenting moving forward is to be on panels that I have designed or co-designed and that design involves the audience beyond a 5 minute q/a at the end. I realized that I enjoy presenting at sessions when the audience gets to share their knowledge with the room and each other. I really think that it is much more effective for learning than talking heads or expert brain dump.
Also, I will ask for rooms that have more space and wireless mics are not negotiable. These are important technical details that make it easy to involve the audience in the conversation. What I hate most about conference presentation set ups is that the speakers are up on a stage behind a podium and separate from the audience.
Allison Fine and I did a session called The Networked Nonprofit that we designed. We covered the themes in our soon to be published book, The Networked Nonprofit, and engaged the audience in a conversation about these themes. Here's an interview with did with Holly Ross prior to the session.
One of the best things about doing sessions at the NTC is that I know so many people in the audience and can call them out to share their experience. The other wonderful thing is that Amy Sample Ward and Peggy Duvette were in the audience live blogging and I'm so grateful for their notes. (Thank you!) Also, a huge thanks to Geoff Livingston who took fabulous photos!
We started with a little skit, loosely based on the PC/MAC commercials about how our styles are so different. Collaboration is hard and even harder when you don't write, think, or have the same tone. It may be easier to write a book alone, but a collaborative effort can produce something rich. I was worried about our different presentation styles - not to mention how we prepare differently - but we had great chemistry! Pretty good for only being in the room together one time before and presenting together for the first time!On the content side, I was surprised to hear the responses to the simplicity exercise - what could your organization do less of? Meetings was a big one, followed by worry!
Shawn, a passionate free agent fundraiser and video blogger, was in the room. I first encountered "Uncultured" through his work on Blog Action Day. He stood up and talked about how wants to work with nonprofits and later blogged about the session. One of the points we made in the book is how nonprofits need to work with free agent fundraisers, but I also think that free agent fundraisers should also learn ways to approach nonprofits in a less confrontational way. Nonetheless, I will thrilled to see people in the room hand Shawn cards.
Oh, the book comes out in late June, but you can pre-order at a good discount on Amazon.